Danae Rivers of Cross places 4th in mile at Indoor Nationals

NEW YORK >> Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross hung with Alexa Efraimson, one of the top high school milers in the United States, for as long as she could Sunday afternoon.

That in itself was impressive.

Rivers fell off the pace toward the end, but the sophomore made a name for herself on a national level.

Rivers ran a 4 minute, 48.59 second mile at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, placing fourth overall at the Armory to earn All-American status.

“I did not know she was going to take it out that fast” Rivers said of Efraimson. “I didn’t expect I was going to run that fast at first, and I just held with her as long as I could.”

Efraimson, a junior from Camas, Wash., won with a meet-record time of 4:38.46. She said after, she had hoped for a faster time.

“I was hoping for under 4:35,” said Efraimson.

Rivers ran in second place, just a few strides behind Efraimson for a majority of the race. Efraimson increased her lead with about two laps to go as Rivers fell back and battled for second and third position.

Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross finished fourth in the girls' 1 mile at the Indoor Nationals on Sunday.

Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross finished fourth in the girls’ 1 mile at the Indoor Nationals on Sunday.

“I did feel like I was getting tired. It was a long season,” Rivers said.

Rivers’ time was a new personal record as she shaved more than 5 seconds off her mile time.

“I’m happy with going below 4:50,” Rivers said with a smile. “I haven’t hit that yet.”

Rivers was also close to hitting the 1 mile indoor state record (4:45.08) set in 1981.

For the Connecticut’s top two 2 milers, Sunday didn’t quite go as planned. Fairfield Prep’s Christian Alvarado, who came in ranked No. 1, finished in 16th place in a time of 9:16.18.

Alvarado said he had a good strategy going in, but his legs started to get tired after the first mile.

My strategy was to stay from the middle of the pack and slowly move up,” Alvarado said. “I thought I did a good job of that right before the mile.”

Alvarado had a tough time gaining any ground on the lead pack.

“I was kind of stuck in no man’s land, so it was really hard for me to push,” he said.

Meanwhile, Staples’ Hannah DeBalsi, who holds the state’s 2-mile record, held the lead for a majority of the race. Tessa Barrett of Waverly, Pa., who was running in second, overtook the lead with about 400 meters remaining according to DeBalsi. On the second to last turn, DeBalsi, who was in a battle to stay in second, bumped arms with Audrey Belf of Bloomfield Hill, Mich., as Belf made her way to the inside. DeBalsi, who was running near the rail, fell over after the contact.

“I was in shock,” DeBalsi said. “I was up and now I’m down.”

DeBalsi quickly recovered and was able to run a “painful” final 100 meters to the finish line to capture fourth place in 10:17.36 and earn All-American status.

Barrett won the event in 10:08.50. Belf finished second (10:10.9).

“It was disappointing because I was on PR pace,” DeBalsi said.

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